Vijayawada: Taking a serious note of Tollywood actor Ram Pothineni's tweets claiming “huge conspiracy” in the investigation into the fire at the COVID-19 care centre, the Vijayawada police, on 17 August, said they may issue a notice to the actor.
A fire broke out at a makeshift COVID care centre in Vijayawada's Hotel Swarna Palace Hotel on 9 August killing 10 patients. The facility was run by Ramesh Hospitals. The managing director of the hospital, Dr. Ramesh Babu Pothineni, is absconding, the police said. He had earlier sent an audio clip to various media organisations blaming the hotel management for the incident.
Amidst this, the actor had alleged that Hotel Swarna Palace was initially listed as a quarantine centre by the government and was later converted into a COVID-19 care centre by Ramesh Hospitals. “HAD THIS FIRE ACCIDENT TAKEN PLACE 3 weeks earlier when it was RUN by the GOVERNMENT, WHO WOULD THEY BLAME? (sic)” the actor had tweeted a few days ago.
He had alleged that the issue was being diverted from the fire accident to the collection of high fees from COVID-19 patients. Ram claimed that the hotel management was responsible for the billing and not the hospital. Doctors were not responsible for fire safety, he had tweeted.
Alleging a conspiracy, Ram tweeted, “I doubt there’s a HUGE CONSPIRACY to show the CM of AP in bad light. I request @ysjagan garu to look into it as a few people under him might be doing this without his knowledge. This is causing huge damage to his reputation & Honest approach, amongst all of us!”
The police took strong objections to Ram's tweets and said they will issue notices to the actor if he tries to hamper their investigation. They advised the actor to stop tweeting and Dr Ramesh to stop sending audio clips. Instead, they have been asked to appear before the police if they have evidences to prove the charges of conspiracy.
Meanwhile, TDP chief and former Chief Minister Nara Chandrababu Naidu has come out in support of the actor and said the police are trying to suppress the freedom of speech by threatening to issue notices to Ram.
A few days ago, the Krishna district collector, Mohammed Imtiaz, had revoked Ramesh Hospitals' license to treat COVID-19 patients citing lack of safety precautions at the COVID care centre and for charging exorbitant fees exceeding the government price cap.
The Krishna district medical and health officer (DMHO) has also issued a notice to Dr. Ramesh Babu to appear in person on 30 August and give an answer in writing to the charges levelled against the hospital management and surrender the hospital’s certificate of registration and other documents.